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“In no time at all we were back on the main highway and that night I saw the entire state of Nebraska unroll before my eyes. A hundred and ten miles an hour straight through, an arrow road, sleeping towns, no traffic, and the Union Pacific streamliner falling behind us in the moonlight.” Jack Kerouac – On The Road
To talk about Kerouac’s novel is to do it an injustice. There’s nothing left to say. It’s been meticulously analysed by critics since gracing its presence on the world. Its expressions, sentiment and onslaught of countercultural freedom it presents are no longer new.
However, what I will address is its ability to confirm one’s love for the road and capture what a stretch of Tarmac represents. Reading it, you feel free. As Kerouac dallies around the United States as his thinly veiled protagonist, he’s every bit the icon the book promises him to be.
His capture of the road is unrivalled. It’s a cliché to call it a traveller’s bible, but little work comes close to that statement.
Its effect on me has already been discussed. I’d already read On The Road before I’d read it. You only have to look back across my site and see I share the same sentiment as Kerouac, as well as the drive and desire to realise it. Impulsiveness is everything.
I’ll leave you with a story – sitting on my plane waiting to leave for Madrid, a similarly aged couple sat next to me. “You’re reading On The Road?,” harks the man. “Yes.” There’s nothing else to say to each other. That’s the power of Kerouac’s book.
Keep travelling. Never stop.